Woman carrying a box with the word "content" in front.
PHOTO: Shutterstock

Selecting the right web content management system (WCM) can be an overwhelming process. Look no further than Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape which illustrates just how many content management systems and web experience management platforms are on the market. However, there’s good news. Your solution may be already in your marketing technology stack.

If you’re considering a new content management system it's important, as the adage goes, to not throw the baby out with the bathwater. You must give serious consideration to your current technology stack and CMS to ensure that it is or is not up to the task. Here are some things to consider before saying hasta la vista to your current WCM platform.

Is Your Current WCM Off The Upgrade Path?

Cathy McKnight, vice president of consulting for Digital Clarity Group, which helps organizations with WCM platform selections, shared a particular story about a client that was in the hunt for new content management technology. The client, she said, reportedly hated the WCM platform. It wanted a cheaper one that better fit the business’ needs. But during the discovery phase of the selection process, McKnight soon learned there wasn’t so much hate for the platform. “We don’t hate it but we’d like it to do more. We know that it's not the technology,” McKnight recalled hearing from the WCM platform users. 

The users also talked about frustrations with “spaghetti code,” and the fact that too many hands in the organization were touching the code. The WCM platform could no longer be extended and was off the upgrade path, McKnight said. 

The problems were clearly outlined, according to McKnight. “Marketing was using their business words and technology was using the tech words, but that's basically what it came down to,” she said. In the end, the end users actually liked the WCM platform. They didn’t need to abandon ship at that point. They just needed, as McKnight said, to evolve. That’s why the incumbent WCM Platform ended up on the shortlist of three WCM platforms and from that ended up winning. So the perceived disdain for the incumbent WCM platform was actually a love affair in disguise after all. 

Related Articles: 11 Rules for Selecting the Right Content Management System (CMS)

Does the Current WCM Align With Your Business Needs?

When McKnight and Digital Clarity Group took the next steps, it helped the organization whittle down their choices to six or seven possible technologies. The goal was to see if the tech aligned with their focal business needs. McKnight called it a “great exercise to go through and validate” your existing technology. What did you like about the WCM platform in the first place? Take those factors into consideration.“Often companies will find it still works, and it still has some validity. Sometimes it happens. Or sometimes they've grown beyond (the WCM platform), or the business has changed,” McKnight said.

Of course, your current WCM platform will not always be the answer. Naturally, a thorough selection process may yield a new technology for your MarTech stack. Acquisitions, for instance, can lead to some challenging WCM platform conundrums, McKnight said. In that particular case, the urge may be to keep your WCM platform but “sometimes it is just easier to start from scratch than trying force feed any technology. It becomes a level playing ground,” she added, “and brings people together,” she said.

Related Article: 13 Headless CMSs to Put on Your Radar

Additional WCM Considerations

Here are some other reasons you may have the right WCM platform under your roof as you consider new technologies.

The Platform Vendor is in a Good Place

Ian Truscott, global head of marketing at censhare, said that your current WCM platform vendor is probably the right one if it shows some of these signs.

  • There is a pulse of frequent new releases
  • You can see activity in the WCM platform community
  • When you call them they respond with the same name that's on your contract.

Encouragement From Other Users 

Fear not if you think you’ve hit a roadblock with your WCM platform. If other users of the software say, "Yes it can do that," even if you can't, that’s a sign you may need to stay on board. "Even with the world’s best technology, a mediocre team will deliver a mediocre implementation. A poor implementation can often give the impression that the underlying tool cannot meet your organization’s changing business needs,” McKnight stated in a previous interview. She cautions that decision makers should talk to other users that are on the most recent version of your platform and find out if it’s the (content management system) that's really the problem.

WCM Has Been Adopted By Regular Business Users

If the adoption of your WCM platform has moved beyond a core team of specialists and is being used by regular business users, Truscott said it's a good sign you have the right content management technology.